Vatican library opens white-gloved show on treasures

Tue Nov 9, 2010 11:28am EST
 
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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Lovers of ancient books, parchments and illustrations can simulate being real-life researchers touching some of the world's rarest documents at a new exhibition on the treasures of the Vatican Library.

No need to bring white cotton gloves, they will be provided to increase the sensation of authenticity, even though documents that can be touched are high quality facsimiles.

The exhibition, which opens to the public on Wednesday in St Peter's Square, re-creates a mini version of the frescoed rooms of the Vatican Library, which houses more than 1.6 million rare books, manuscripts, coins, first editions and wax seals.

Among the facsimiles of documents that can be touched is the Borgianus Latinus, a missal for use at Christmas made for Pope Alexander VI, who became pope in 1492, the same year Columbus discovered America.

Another is an edition of Dante's Divine comedy from 1564.

Some original works are on display but cannot be touched, including a page of the Koran from the 7th century.

The exhibition -- called "Understanding the Vatican Library: a History Open to the Future" -- is at the Braccio Carlo Magno on the left-hand side of the colonnade in St Peter's Square and remains open until January 31.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

 
<p>A Vatican librarian, wearing white gloves, turns the pages of a facsimile copy of the Borgianus Latinus, a missal for use at Christmas made for Pope Alexander VI, at the Braccio Carlo Magno in the Vatican November 9, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi</p>